Fishing in Minnesota state parks

Naturalist and child fishing

Minnesota is known for its fishing. Hoping to break the 17-pound state record for largest walleye, or reel in a whopping two pound Bluegill sunfish? Whatever your preference, there are plenty of fish left in the waters so you can drop a bobber, hook the big one, and create your own fish stories.

A few favorites:

state map showing this park's locationBear Head Lake State Park
Abundant walleye, bass, crappies and trout.

state map showing this park's locationBeaver Creek Valley State Park
Clear streams with brown and brook trout.

state map showing this park's locationBig Bog State Recreation Area
Panfish, walleye and northern pike, plus an accessible fish cleaning house.

state map showing this park's locationFather Hennepin State Park
Bass, northern pike and walleye make their home in Mille Lacs Lake.

state map showing this park's locationFort Snelling State Park
There is great fishing in this state park just minutes from the metro area.

state map showing this park's locationGlendalough State Park
Large sunfish and crappies for the frying pan, and bass for the camera.

state map showing this park's locationRed River State Recreation Area
Catch some catfish in the rich waters of the Red River.

state map showing this park's locationMaplewood State Park
This park has eight major lakes and numerous ponds, all with good fishing.

state map showing this park's locationZippel Bay State Park
Catch walleye, sauger, bass, perch and muskie in Lake of the Woods.

state map showing this park's locationWhitewater State Park
An angler's paradise with brown, brook, and rainbow trout.

Fishing with your family

Tips and tricks that will help even the littlest ones hook the big fish, and to ensure the whole family enjoys the whole experience:

  • Plan to have fun and remember to bring a camera.
  • Choose fishing spots with a high likelihood of success. Catching a small fish is still catching a fish! Try for bluegill, perch or bullhead. (Learn where, when, and how the fish bite This link leads to an external site.)
  • Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. (Live bait is more interesting to kids, too.)
  • Pick a place that is comfortable, safe, and easy to get to—public fishing piers are a great place to start. (Find a fishing pier This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.)
  • Bring snacks!
  • Remember the basics: sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit.
  • Provide kids with simple tackle in working order.
  • Start with realistic expectations. With short attention spans, kids may want to move onto something else after a very short time.
  • Have patience!

Need more family fishing ideas? Try MinnAqua.